Let’s face it. Everyone is busy!! Sometimes we get so busy that we worry there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things we are supposed to do. I know I have felt that way before!
One thing I often do when I know I have a busy week coming up is meal prep.
Meal prepping is not very complicated, it doesn’t take a ton of time, and it doesn’t require a whole bunch of tools to get started. It is actually a great way to ensure you are feeding your family healthy, homemade meals – even in the middle of the busiest of weeks!
When considering which foods you will meal prep, it is best to consider any food that holds up well in storage and tastes palatable to you after a few days in the refrigerator.
Cooked meat, roasted vegetables, soups, sauces, nuts, and stiff raw vegetables make good bases for meal prep recipes.
However, it is important to keep in mind that you can’t meal prep everything. Soft vegetables, cut fruit, and crunchy food like crackers will only get softer in your refrigerator — making them less ideal choices for meal prep.
Here is your step-by-step guide to meal prep:
1. GET HIGH-QUALITY FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS
Use quality food storage containers to keep meal prep food hot (or cold).
Avoid storing food in plastic whenever you can, to keep your meal prep dishes optimal.
Some plastic containers contain BPA, which is a known carcinogenic. However, even non-BPA plastics can contain estrogenic chemicals that leach into your food and cause problems with your hormones.
2. CHOOSE RECIPES AND BUILD YOUR MENU
With simple recipes in hand, decide what you’ll cook for the week and schedule the days of the week when you want to enjoy your meals.
3. And FINALLY, SCHEDULE TIME FOR MEAL PREP
You can’t meal prep without prep time. Schedule a window one or two days per week to prep your meals. I like to meal prep on Sunday afternoons, so I am ready to go for the whole week!
There are a few different types of meal prep I like to do:
- Full make-ahead meals, where you cook an entire meal and store it in your fridge or freezer (most frozen meals will stay fresh for up to 6 months!).
- Batch cooking or freezing, where you make multiple meals, then portion and store them. This approach is useful for recipes you can easily cook in large amounts
- Ingredient prep, which worksfor people who like to cook and serve food all at once. With ingredient prep, you can prepare certain parts of each recipe ahead of time. For example, you chop veggies, mix spices, or marinade meat in advance to save time when you’re ready to cook.
2020 can be your year to make healthy eating a priority, no matter how busy your schedule may be!